Park News JULY 2018

Richmond Park photo by Anne Ross

Barbecues and fires

The long hot, dry spell has turned the Park's grassland the wonderful brown savannah-type colour that usually doesn't happen until August. But it also brings a very high risk of fire from portable BBQs. The BBC London lunchtime and evening news on Tuesday 3rd had a good piece on the risk to Richmond Park, including an interview with Adam Curtis the Park Manager – see the news clip. TRP have also issued a press release – read it here. It is not only dangerous but an offence to light a fire or barbecue in the Park.

Open Day – volunteers needed!

As in previous years, the Friends will be helping to steward and provide information to visitors at Richmond Park Open Day on Sunday 23 September. We are therefore asking for 30 volunteers to help us in what has always been an interesting and enjoyable day. If you would like to join us, please email: The Friends will also have stalls exhibiting the Visitor Centre, our practical conservation work, Discoverers and Tread Lightly and help with these is being organised by the volunteer groups themselves.

New collapsible cups

You can now buy collapsible, reusable cups at the Visitor Centre. The cups are available in 5 different colours and cost £7.80 each. A very useful investment, conveniently collapsible when not in use and much better for the environment than the estimated 2.5 billion disposable cups thrown away each year in the UK.

Swan attack

We’re pleased to report that the injured swans and family have now returned to Pen Ponds and seem to be doing well. Thank you to all those who have donated to the Swan Sanctuary and its wonderful work with injured swans.

Ride London on 29 July

Please note the park road closures during this event. 

Richmond Park Flora Group

The Richmond Park Flora Group is a small but dedicated group who are especially interested in the park's flora. They organise visits to record the native wild plants of the park, and monitor the effects of different management techniques, e.g. cattle grazing, bracken rolling etc. In addition they organise walks and courses to help in identifying the different plant species. If you would be interested to learn more about the group, we would be very pleased to hear from you. Contact: or

Photographer David Llewellyn-Jones leaves the area

David has been a regular contributor to the Friends’ calendar, thrilling us with his amazing photographs in the Park. He is now moving from his home in Kingston and will no longer be in the area. We thank him for his past contributions and wish him all the best in his new place. David has been kind enough to leave a souvenir album of 40 park photos for all to enjoy. See David’s photos.

Ticks and OPM

This seems to be one of the worst years ever for ticks, with people who are regularly in the Park reporting large numbers on their clothes and bodies. Please be careful, wear appropriate clothing and follow the advice on our website. The risk from Oak Processionary Moths is also at its height now and for the next month you will see men in spacesuits removing the nests from the Park’s oak trees. This year, there are many nests at head height and below and some in the tree crates so please avoid climbing, touching or sitting under or near oak trees. Read more

New Heritage Centre

The Hearsum Collection received planning permission last year for the new Heritage Pavilion in the Park and a large funding effort is now underway to raise the £1.5m needed to complete the project. As well as housing the Collection, with its many fascinating artefacts and park memorabilia, the Pavilion will also house a new Visitor Centre (which will continue to be operated by the Friends as it has been since 2008) and a community meeting space. See the video about the project and: Read more here.

Christmas photos wanted

We will shortly be ordering the Friends 2018 Christmas cards and need a snowy scene of the Park, ideally including deer. If you would be happy to donate a photo for possible use as a FRP Christmas card, please email Mary Davies.

Bandstand alive again

Until the 1970s there was a bandstand in Richmond Park located on the V-shaped ground formed by the junction of the two roads opposite Richmond Gate. It was then moved to Regent's Park and was bombed by the IRA during a concert in 1982, killing seven soldiers of the Royal Green Jackets regimental band. It is sometimes referred to as the Memorial Bandstand. It is now hosting concerts on Sunday afternoons this July and August. See the programme under 'Summer Music in the Park'.

Richmond Park winners in TRP photo competition

Three out of the five winning entries in The Royal Parks recent photography competition were of Richmond Park. The winner in the Nature category was a photo of a stag scooping bracken onto its antlers by Bartek Olszewski, who is a regular contributor to our calendar. See the photos here

Events Calendar

All are welcome to join our walks. Start 10am from the designated car park unless stated otherwise.

• 07 July Robin Hood Gate Car Park
• 04 Aug Kingston Gate Car Park
• 01 Sep Roehampton Gate car Park

Informal birdwatching walks – Every Friday – meet at Pen Ponds car park coffee kiosk at 9.30am

TALKS & COURSES – Friends’ members only. (New members – join here)
Start at Pembroke Lodge at 10.15am, unless otherwise stated. No need to book – just turn up. Coffee/tea provided.

• 15 Sep Ant hills (course by Dr Tim King)
Courses consist of a 45 minute talk indoors followed by a 90 minute walk.
Talks are usually 45-60 minutes and are not followed by a walk



Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

This well-known, distinctive and easily recognisable wildflower is found across the UK as well as Richmond Park. It thrives best in dappled shade and can grow up to 2m tall. It has tall spikes, which bear bell-shaped flowers, which are typically pink-purple with darker coloured spots on the lower lip of the flower. A single foxglove can produce over a million seeds but the seeds can often lie dormant for many years if the conditions are not favourable.

Foxgloves are adapted to be pollinated by bees, especially long-tongued bees such as the common carder bee. They are attracted to the brightly coloured flowers and the lower lip means that they are able to land before climbing up the tube. It is during this process that the bee will dislodge pollen and transfer it to another plant. The mottled markings on the flowers were also once thought to be the handprints of fairies. In fact, in Gaelic, it was called lus nam ban-sith meaning 'the fairy woman's plant' because the plants grow in woodland. Foxgloves also grow alongside roadside verges, hedgerows, heaths, banks and in gardens so it can be easily spotted across the Park now until September.

Oak Processionary moth

Careful surveying of the park will be continued in July to locate nests which are then removed by specialist operatives using protective clothing and equipment. If you come across the caterpillars or their webbed nests, please do not touch them and keep children and pets away. Please call the Park Office on 0300 061 2250 to report any sightings.

Mission invertebrate

The Holly Lodge Centre will once again be linking with the Mission Invertebrate team to bring the learning to you so you can get close to nature and learn more about the wonderful world of invertebrates that thrive in Richmond Park. There will be bug trails, interactive story-telling, creative craft activities and invertebrate missions galore. No booking is required and all the activities are free so come along on the following days:

  •  Tuesday 24th July – Isabella Plantation from 11:00am to 2:00pm

  • Wednesday 25th July – Isabella Plantation from 11:00am to 2:00pm

  • Thursday 26th July – Roehampton Gate Garden from 11:00am to 2:00pm

Safer parks police panel

The Park has its own police liaison group, the “Safer Parks Police Panel”, which is similar to Police Liaison Groups in your neighbourhood. It operates on the same basis and its core function is to monitor the police by setting priorities and measuring subsequent performance. The Panel meets quarterly and comprises of 15 people representing the many park visitors, including cyclists, dog walkers, residents, the Friends and local councillors. The Royal Parks Regulations have to be enforced and visitor safety is of primary concern but we are of course fortunate that the Park is safe and conventional crime is very low.

Bracken management

Bracken dominates large areas of the Park so we will be cutting, spraying and rolling using horse-drawn bracken rollers throughout July and into August. Bracken has the ability to smother more sensitive habitats such as the acid grassland areas so this work helps to control its spread, ensures other species are able to establish and prevents a dominant monoculture of bracken from establishing across the Park.


The deer are still giving birth to their young in July so please keep out of the nursery areas, which all have signs up. Keep at least 50 metres away from the deer and please do not touch, feed or photograph the deer at close range. Deer can feel threatened by dogs, so please keep your dog on a lead or under close control and avoid the remote quiet places where the deer are more likely to have their young.

Park road closures

The Park will be closed to traffic all day on Sunday 29th July for the Ride London event. It will also be closed on Sunday 16th September for the Duathlon event.


Flowering trees and shrubs

Large, late flowering rhododendrons can be found in the south section of the garden, between the stream from the Still Pond and the main central stream. They have pink and white fragrant flowers and include many hybrids of Rhododendron auriculatum. Many rhododendrons are now producing handsome new leaves. These are often covered with a soft felt layer, which is white or ginger, and known as ‘indumentum’.

In the secluded lawn to the south of Thomson’s Pond the first giant flowers of the Magnolia grandiflora are set amongst glossy evergreen leaves. They have thick fleshy cream petals and a delicious citrus scent.

Clethra barbinervis with its long racemes of white fragrant flowers can be found on the path leading from the Top Gate leading down towards Bluebell Walk, near the entrance to Wilson’s Glade.

Heather Garden

Look out for the “Button Bush”, Cephalanthus occidentalis, set back from the path leading to the Bog Garden. This shrub bears creamy-white flowers in small globular heads, which are very attractive to butterflies.

Bog Garden

In the Bog Garden the tall yellow spires of Ligularia przewalskii are set against a backdrop of bamboo, and the Gunnera manicata spreads its giant prickly leaves. Here, and by the streams, many varieties of Hemerocallis, the ‘Day Lily,’ flower amongst iris. Bell-shaped, fragrant yellow of the “Giant Cowslip”, Primula florindae show in the marginal bed alongside the decked walkway. The wild flowers of ‘Purple Loosestrife’ and the frothy white blossoms of ‘Meadowsweet’ grow alongside more exotic plantings. Look out for butterflies visiting the Joe Pye weeds (Eupatorium purpureum) with its stately pinkish purple flowers. Water lilies open on Thomson’s Pond, where dragonflies and damselflies hover and dart over the water on warm still days. Just off the central path look out for the soft pink flowers of the ground cover plant Persicaria affinis ‘Superba’.

The Birthday Mound

Hydrangea quercifolia with its large oak shaped leaves and abundance of frothy white flowers heads can be found putting on an impressive show on the banking surrounding the Red Oak stump.

Foxglove tree glade

Hydrangea aspera, flowers in the glade set back from the Still Pond, this magnificent large leafed shrub produces large heads of porcelain blue flowers, with a ring of lilac-pink or white ray florets.

Azalea feeding

Streamside Azaleas are fed with an organically approved seaweed based feed after flowering to encourage vigour, disease resistance and flower production the following spring.

Lawn creation

The gardeners and volunteers have been busy clearing debris in areas where Rhododendron ponticum has been removed. The ground has now been rotavated and sown with grass seed. The team will then begin to replant these areas with new plantings throughout the autumn and winter months.

Wheelchair available

A motorised wheelchair, which makes the job of pushing considerably easier, may be loaned for use within the Garden on weekdays between 9.00 and 15.00. Please ring 0300 061 2200 to book the chair by noon on the day before it is required.